Target of write-in campaign casts his own vote

Judge Ronald C. Kline, facing child pornography charges, declines comment on election.

March 5, 2002

By GREG HARDESTY
The Orange County Register

Judge Ronald C. Kline, the focus of an unprecedented campaign by 11 write-in candidates to oust him in the wake of child pornography and molestation charges, voted this morning at an Irvine elementary school near his home.

Kline, wearing an electronic monitoring device around his ankle, declined to answer questions from a reporter as he walked back to his house in the exclusive Turtle Rock community.

"You'll have to talk to my lawyer,'' said Kline, restricted to his home since Nov. 9 after surrendering to federal authorities on charges that he downloaded images of young boys engaged in sex acts onto his home computer.

Write-in candidates are seeking to collectively win at least 50 of the vote to force Kline into a run-off election in November.

The charges against him came too late for other names to appear on the ballot. The Santa Ana jurist, who has pleaded not guilty to the pornography charges and has yet to enter a plea to the molestation charges, was sailing to an uncontested victory until write-in candidates forced his name to appear on the ballot for Office 21.

Many voters interviewed as they left polling booths today said they knew little about the write-in candidates – only that they wanted to prevent Kline, 61, from being reelected to another six-year term.

"That's the goal, no matter what: we're going to get him out of office,'' said Del Still, a management consultant in Dana Point. "His behavior has been totally unacceptable.''